Southern Rocks will face Western Tigers in Masvingo as Centrals tussle it out with Power Turbines in Bindura this Saturday in the semi-finals of the 2016 Associate Provincial League.
The winners from this weekend’s last-four clashes will meet in the final scheduled for 28 May 2016 at a neutral venue.
Both Centrals and Southern Rocks made it to the semi-finals after finishing as winners of Pool 1 and Pool 2 respectively without losing any of their matches.
On the other hand, Western Tigers and Power Turbines finished as runners-up in their respective groups to advance to the last-four stage.
The 40-over competition was split into two regions at the first stage, with Centrals (Mashonaland Central), Western Tigers (Mashonaland West) and Easterns (Mashonaland East) making up Pool 1, while the other group was made up of Southern Rocks (Masvingo), Power Turbines (Matabeleland North) and Southern Zebras (Matabeleland South).
Zimbabwe Cricket game development and domestic cricket manager Caesar Nayoto has hailed the impact and importance of the Associate Provincial League.
“The league has showcased a lot of hidden talent that we didn’t know about,” he said.
“It has also given us an opportunity to assess cricket standards in the affiliate provinces and we now have a broader appreciation of the standard of play in provinces such as Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.”
Nayoto added: “The Associate Provincial League will be important in coming up with the emerging squad as well as playing the role of feeder into the first-class set-up.
“It also gives other provinces a chance to play in organised tournaments as opposed to simply twinning them with the more established provinces.”
Nayoto predicted exciting semi-final matches, with Southern Rocks facing an acid test at home in Masvingo, while underdogs Power Turbines might rise to the occasion against their more fancied opponents in Bindura.
“The semi-final in Masvingo is likely to be tough because Southern Rocks were not really tested at the first stage where they proved too strong for the Matabeleland sides. Western Tigers are a strong side, so it could be anyone’s game,” he said.
“While Centrals are on paper likely to be too strong for Power Turbines, we are still expecting great, entertaining cricket in that semi-final too.”